Creating A Large, Enriching Ball Python Enclosure!
Providing A Ball Python With A Massive Reptile Enclosure
Ball Pythons have long been thought of as the “pet rock” of the reptile world due to their seemingly sedentary, laid-back behavior. However, Ball Pythons have proven to be active, curious animals when given the opportunity to exhibit climbing and burrowing behaviors. Our Animal Care Manager, Kasey set out to create a large, multi-level enclosure for our resident Ball Python, Chip, that would prove Ball Pythons can be more than just a “pet rock!” To watch the full video, click here: HUGE Snake Enclosure Upgrade For Our Ball Python!
Designing the Enclosure For Our Ball Python
A 4x2x4 Zen Habitats PVC Reptile Enclosure was chosen as Chip’s future home; which is quite the upgrade from his previous 4x2x2 Zen Habitats PVC Reptile Enclosure! Kasey’s main goal was to create a spacious enclosure where Chip could take advantage of multiple climbing opportunities, as well as the option to utilize several microhabitats.
To do this, she decided to add two platforms supported by shelf brackets to maximize the vertical space that the enclosure has to offer. By adhering pieces of acrylic around each added level, she was able to create platforms that could hold also substrate to offer a comfortable space for our snake to climb and explore. Kasey also knew she wanted to add live plants into the enclosure, so she added the Zen Habitats 4x2 Bio Basin to ensure no substrate or moisture would leak out when misting the reptile enclosure or watering the plants.
To make the enclosure look like a slice of the jungle, Kasey crafted a tree structure carved from spray foam beneath one of the platforms. In order to make the platforms blend seamlessly into the reptile enclosure; she covered the platform edges in spray foam and coated the carved foam in silicone and coco coir for a naturalistic look and added green moss to conceal the shelf brackets. Once the spray foam was cured and silicone was dry, Kasey added the substrate layer.
Ball Pythons originate from warm tropical regions in Africa and require a range fluctuating from 50% up to 80% humidity within their habitat. In order to achieve proper humidity levels, she chose a substrate mix of coco coir, cypress mulch, sphagnum moss, and leaf litter. A thick layer of substrate was added to allow Chip to completely bury himself if he chooses. Next, several live plants were added to the enclosure; A peace lily (spathyphyllum spp.) was added to the ground layer of the habitat. On the levels she placed a potted umbrella tree (schefflera spp.), pothos (epipremnum spp.), and inch plant (tradescantia spp.).
Branches and vines that could support the weight of our hefty Ball Python were placed from the ground and to each level. To ensure the branches would not slide from under Chip’s weight, Kasey secured everything using zip ties. A seagrass bridge was added towards the bottom of the enclosure for an additional texture and climbing opportunity.
Two Zen Caves were included in the enclosure; a Zen Corner Cave on the ground, and a standard Zen Cave on the upper most platform that would serve as a basking platform. Offering multiple hiding spots throughout the enclosure gives our snake the choice to receive different temperature gradients, humidity levels, and levels of UV output while still feeling secure.
Adding The Finishing Touches To Our Large Ball Python Enclosure!
To finish off the enclosure, Kasey added several lighting and heating elements to offer the most natural lighting and heating spectrum for our critter. A 36” LED full spectrum plant light to support the growth of our live plants was mounted using the inside mounting bars. A 36” 5.0 UVB bulb was also suspended from the top mounting bars, as well as a compact Reptisun underneath the lowest platform; giving Chip multiple areas he can go to receive beneficial UVB lighting. For heating, an 80w halogen bulb was placed above the upper most platform so that the slate top of the Zen Cave will absorb its heat and create a pleasant basking platform and warm hide.
After Kasey allowed the plants to establish for several weeks, she decided the top portion of the enclosure seemed too bare for her liking. Her final touch was adding faux greenery vines draping throughout any empty spaces. With the finishing touches in place, our completed enclosure was ready to welcome home Chip, the Ball Python!
What are your thoughts? Are there any changes or modifications you would’ve made for the setup? Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel and to watch the full video of Kasey introducing Chip to his new home!